How to install Windows 11 in a virtual machine

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If you want to try Windows 11 on your PC, but don’t want to risk replacing a stable version of Windows 10 with a beta operating system that might have bugs, you can use a virtual machine. Virtual machines allow you to simulate a PC but run it in a window above your main operating system.

Below we will explain how to install Windows 11 in a virtual machine step by step. The good news is that our recommended VM software for this task, VMWare Workstation Player, is free. However, you will need a separate, valid Windows 10 key for the virtual machine that you are not using on the host PC or elsewhere. If you don’t have one, check out our story on how to get Windows 10 on the cheap, where we recommend a few key merchants you can use.

Your host computer should also have at least 8 GB of RAM and a quad-core processor, as the virtual machine will need to use at least two cores and 4 GB of RAM.

How to install Windows 11 on a virtual machine

1. Download and install VMware Desktop Reader. It is a free download for non-commercial use. We also tried this with Oracle VirtualBox and it didn’t work.

2. Create a Windows 10 ISO file if you don’t already have one. You can do this by using the Windows Media Creation tool and choosing the ISO file as the output. Make sure you select the version of Windows (Home, Pro, etc.) for which you have a product key.

3. Select a new virtual machine in the Player-> File menu in VMWare Workstation Player.

Select a new virtual machine

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4. Select location your Windows 10 ISO file when prompted and click on Next.

Select your Windows 10 ISO

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5. Name your virtual machine whatever you want and click on Next.

Name your virtual machine Windows 11

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6. Set the maximum disk size at least 64 GB and choose “Store virtual disk to file.” Then click on Next.

Set the maximum disk size and store the virtual disk in a single file

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7. Click Customize Hardware.

click on Customize material

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8. Increase RAM at least 4 GB (4096 MB), preferably 8 GB. Click on Close.

Increase RAM

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9. Click on Finish and make sure “Power on this virtual machine …” is checked.

Click on Finish

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ten. press a key to boot from ISO, which the VM thinks is DVD. If you are not fast enough, you can select Power-> Restart from the Player menu.

press a key

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11. Follow the prompts to install Windows 10. Make sure to enter your product key and Select the custom installation when prompted to choose between Custom and Upgrade.

You will of course have to wait a few minutes for the installation to complete. Also, make sure you are using a Microsoft account.

Install Windows

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12. Click Install Tools so what install VMWare graphics driver of the virtual optical drive.

Click Install Tools

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13. Join the Windows Insider Program on the virtual machine. To do this, go to Settings-> Update & Security-> Windows Insider Program and click on Get started.

Click on Start

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14. Select the development channel and click Confirm. Follow the prompts to confirm again and restart your virtual machine.

Select the development channel

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15. Click Check for Updates under Settings-> Update & Security-> Windows Update.

Click Check for Updates

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Windows 11 Insider Preview should begin to download and install. It may take a while, depending on your download speed.

Installing Windows 11

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16. Restart your pc when prompted.


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